It's a

Game Changer

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There is growing evidence of the benefits of RPG Therapy in the management of young people with Special Educational Needs and people who have experienced psychological trauma (such as military veterans, prison inmates, complex childhood trauma). However little work has been done in the homeless population. We hope to be able to address that. 

the challenge

the challenge

  trauma informed approach

SHP hostels

 It is increasingly recognized that many people who are at risk of, or are experiencing long term homelessness, have been exposed to trauma, often in childhood. 

details to follow.

In the UK 85% of those in touch with criminal justice, substance misuse and homelessness services have experienced trauma as children (Lankely Chase Foundation 2015). 

details to follow.

 This is compounded as people are far more likely to experience trauma once homeless, be it witnessing or being the victim of physical or sexual violence. And of course, becoming homeless can itself be hugely traumatic.

Why Game Therapy?
From our work with people residing in Camden homeless hostels it was noted that video game playing, and fantasy ‘genre’ books and films, are a popular pastime.
Also, RPG’s use ‘avatars’ (the in-game character) which we thought might be helpful for some clients reluctant to participate in traditional drama therapy.


"The use of RPGs activities to help the clients model communication skills, and emotional self-regulation could be invaluable in preparing the clients for more conventional therapeutic interventions".

Game Therapy UK are working closely with homelessness hostels to set up a series of on-going, cooperative, fantasy games (a bit like "Dungeons & Dragons") in the hostels. Our pilot project is currently working from SHP (Single Homeless Persons) hostels in Camden, London although we are keen to set up more projects across the homeless pathway.

In the Camden pilot project Game Therapy UK provide the project coordinator, the methodology, the therapeutically designed game, and the game facilitator. The psychologist is provided by our partner homeless charity, in this instance SHP. 

The project brings SHP clients together, once per week, and facilitates them in playing an RPG of our own design (a bit like a simplified Dungeons & Dragons) with the intention of providing an entertaining game, a creative escape, and an opportunity for positive social interaction.

Whilst the clients are engaging with the game, we will also take the opportunity to intervene and provide training in social skills (AQA qualifications to support Education to Employment), support drug and alcohol recovery, and offer psychological therapies.